Playtonic Games, an indie game developer based in Derby, England, was founded in 2014 by former staff members of Rare, known for the Donkey Kong, Banjo-Kazooie, Viva Piñata, and Battletoads series. Now, the studio is reportedly undergoing a rebrand and has promised that “all will be revealed soon.”
The studio, which released Project the 3D platformer Yooka-Laylee in 2017, has said in an email to backers that “there is a good reason” for the rebrand, but hasn’t elaborated on the subject. Although its first game was met with mixed reviews, the follow-up, Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair, a platformer released in 2019, was well-received by critics.
In its review of Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair, TheGamer wrote, “Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair is a modern platforming gem. It’s not as incredible as something like Yoshi’s Island or Donkey Kong Country 2, but it approaches those legendary games in quality. The levels are fun, sometimes a genuine challenge for even seasoned players.”
Although the exact details of the rebrand are unknown, the studio will likely launch a Kickstarter campaign for any future titles it develops. For the original Yooka-Laylee, described as a spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie, released in 1998 for the Nintendo 64 and re-released in 2008 for the Xbox 360 via Xbox Live Arcade by Rare, the Playtonic team launched a Kickstarter campaign that raised $1 million in its first 24 hours.
Although some fans are hoping that the rebrand will mean a new game inspired by Donkey Kong or Banjo-Kazooie, Playtonic studio head Gavin Price told GamesIndustry.biz in 2019, “We are never saying spiritual successor again. It worked fantastically as a marketing beat for the first game, although it had some negative things with it, as well.”
“But we need to stand on our own two feet more. We are going to make lots of games in lots of different genres for hopefully many years to come. You’ll always be able to point back to something in the past and go ‘oh, it’s a bit like that then’. That’s always going to happen. We need to focus on what makes our games relevant and unique,” he added.
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